Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, Vegan Cruelty Free, vegan lifestyle

7 Tips for Thicker, Longer Hair That Actually Work

I know that sounds like such a clickbait title, but it’s totally not. I started doing all of the below and my hair is noticeably thicker and longer. It’s true! If you somehow lived the bizarro version of my life, then you grew up with a mom who did everything she could to ensure I had long, black hair like every other good Indian girl. Her passion was so intense that I wasn’t allowed to get haircuts. Even when I explained how split ends work, and how it’s counter-intuitive but necessary to get hair cuts to grow my hair, it went in one ear and out the other.

SO, naturally, this obsession with growing healthy, long, thick hair to rival a horse’s tail passed down to me. After losing about 20-30 pounds (it waivers), I definitely also lost some hair. Making the transition to being vegan caused some hair loss too (but only initially). Once your body finds its groove, your hair will start growing healthier and shinier and thicker. Move over Herbal Essences models! Anyways, go and get or do the below 6 things and you’ll thank me later.

1. High Potency Biotin

I’m leading with the punchline here. High potency biotin is the secret to thicker, longer hair. I keep my bottles of vitamins at work so I can easily take them after lunch. The one I use from Whole Foods (and is often on sale) works like a charm. I ran my hands through my hair and could tell that it felt thicker and got noticeably longer than ever before.

2. Heat Protectant Spray

I have a bad habit of running my hands through my hair, only to accidentally pull out one to three strands at a time. Do this 30 times a day and that could easily equate to handfuls of hair. I started using heat protectant spray every time I wash my hair. I spray it on my slightly damp hair before I use the below and it helps prevent split ends as quickly.

3. Blow-dryer/brush

Instead of using all kinds of heat tools on your hair, find the one multi-tasking tool that works for you. When Ulta had this for 50% off, I jumped on the opportunity and can I tell you I have voluminous, shiny, silky hair because of it? I do. In fact, I’ve never received as many compliments on my hair as when I used this. Scout’s honor. I highly recommend it! It takes place of a hair dryer and a hair straightener. Just be sure to use an effective heat protectant spray.

4. Hair bobbles, baseball caps, and dry shampoo  

Embrace the dirty hair lifestyle. Your hair will get oily, and that’s OK. When it does, throw on your favorite baseball cap and live up that athleisure look. If you’re going to work, find some hairstyles that are work appropriate and easily conceal two or even three-day hair. My favorite are buns and half-up half-down hairstyles. A cute headband helps too! Be sure to use some good dry shampoo to help with the oil as well.

Hair bobbles are a must because unlike your traditional hair ties, they don’t snag or pull your hair out. They also don’t leave kinks in your hair.

5. A plant-rich diet 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I mean are you surprised about this one? Health starts from the inside out, and giving your body all the natural minerals and vitamins will help not only heal your body, but give it the boost it needs to develop as it naturally does! I could go on and on about this, but I don’t want to start a fight. Point blank–don’t eat meat or dairy. Eat plants. Love life.

6. A shower scalp massager

This is 100% an Instagram influenced purchase that’s actually legit. I throw a good dollop of shampoo in my hair and get it wet before I take to my scalp with this massager. Not only does it feel good, but lathers up the shampoo ensuring that my entire scalp gets squeaky clean. It may be in my head but the excess build-up, dead skin and sweat can’t be good for a healthy head of hair.

7. 10-week Trims 

Not going to lie. This one sucks. A lot. Not only because your hair gets shorter after the fact (I mean duh), but it also means you need to spend money on this. And when I saved up aggressively for the last down payment on our house (and designer shoes), my hair suffers. HOWEVER, it’s really important. Going every 10 weeks to shave off an inch, can help inches down the road. I suggest 10 weeks (because that’s what my hair stylist told me) because it depends on how quickly your hair grows. My hair grows super fast, so I should go monthly, but let’s be honest. I ain’t got time for that. I try to go quarterly if i can.

Question of the Day

What is your trick for longer, thicker hair?

monthly favorites, Vegan Cruelty Free, Vegan Fashion, vegan lifestyle

February Favorites

Happy March VCF family! Not unlike January, February was equally short as it was long. Losing two to three days at the end of the month is bittersweet; happy because March is full of exciting things for our family and sad because, well, it’s two days less of time! Any who, you’ll see some February Favorites that are classic OGs and others that are new. What have you been loving this month?

Swiss On Shoes

I’m trying to pick up running again. My schedule barely leaves me time to breathe so I’m trying to fit it in where possible. I know once we move into the new house, my fitness will get back on track, but for now, my treadmill in my living room (ew) will have to do, and these shoes I bought when we were in Manhattan Beach, CA a couple years ago have regained my love.

Best of all, according to PETAOn is 100% vegan.

iPad Pro

I’m constantly thinking about work and things I have to do. Instead of carrying around numerous notebooks and post-its and notes, I now do everything on my iPad. Don’t get me wrong–I miss my old fashioned writing and still write in my gratitude journal every morning, but this iPad guys…game. changer.

Ember Cup

Hasn’t failed me so far. I use this Ember mug once if not twice a day, morning and night.

Faux Fur Infinity Scarf

Polar vortex. Snow. Ice. Slush. I hate it all, but this faux fur infinity scarf is coming through to keep my neck nice and warm. Best of all, it’s a Target find, for less than $15 (at least when I bought it a couple years ago).

Question of the Day

What are you guys loving this month?

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Vegan Cruelty Free, vegan lifestyle, weight loss

One Small (and easy) Step for Quick (and healthy) Weight Losses

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or health professional. Please seek advise from your general practitioner before starting a new routine or healthy lifestyle. 

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! You may be one of the 45% of Americans going into 2019 who resolve to lose weight, and I don’t blame you. While it’s not at the top of my list every year, I can certainly say that it’s been kind of a priority since I was in middle school, and more so when I wanted to join the Varsity Tennis Team in High School. However, I lost weight in both healthy and unhealthy ways. But unlike the majority of New Year’s resolvers who start every year with gumption that fizzles into Netflix and Chillin’ come February 1, I’ve cracked the code to healthy weight loss.  

With that said, look out for a weekly Weight Loss Wednesday series where you can follow along my weight loss journey as a vegan, where I also give you some tips on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle that believe it or not, is not completely about omitting the things you love.

This week, I’m going to share one tip that may help loads of you. 

HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS TIP: Eat Fat, Get Fat 

This is by far the simplest thing you can do. Intaking pure fat is the quickest way to gain actual fat (or add to your adipose tissue). I say pure fat because there’s a difference between pure fat and healthy fats as you probably already know:

Pure Fats – Oil, in any form:

  • Olive oil – reducing the intake of oil is the easiest thing you can do for your weight loss journey 
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter (dairy or vegan)
  • Cheese – reducing the intake of cheese and dairy is probably one of the healthiest things you can do for your body 

Healthy Fats 

  • Avocados
  • Nuts (be aware of serving sizes. A handful can easily be between 300-800 calories). 
  • Chia seeds
  • Cacao nibs
  • Soy beans (keep daily intake low)

If I can’t have oil, what do I cook with? 
When you sauté, cook with water or vegetable stock. Another alternative is cooking spray. 

The rule of thumb is to intake up to 8-10 grams of fat per day at most…

…but more than anything and as with any healthy lifestyle–moderation is key. AND don’t let the scale dictate your day! 

Your changes should not be a diet. They should be a part of a healthy routine that fit your lifestyle. Not the lives of someone you see on Instagram or even your co-worker or friend who’s schedule and day-to-day is completely different from yours. 

I was going back and forth about starting this kind of series. Is this something y’all are interested in?

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Vegan Cruelty Free, Vegan Food

Easy Instant Pot Vegan Chana Masala (Vegan Chickpea Curry-oil-free)

I am a 1.5 generation child. A what? I was born in India and moved to California with my family when I was 6 years old, old enough to know how to use the toilet (but still run into walls) and young enough to be extremely impressionable. Growing up as a 1.5 generation child meant finding the right balance between being American without losing my culture. God bless my parents they wanted me to learn English quick [all I knew was yes, no, hi, and thank you–man was I polite ;)] so they forbade me from speaking Telugu at home. Before they knew it, Valley Girl Samantha was born, with am “um, like” this and a “no. way.” that.

As I grew up, I fought hard to retain my culture, but with little success, EXCEPT, and it’s a big EXCEPT (all caps worthy), when it came to the food. I lived Indian food. We ate it day in a day out with lots, and LOTS of rice. After I moved to college and then to Southern California for grad school, then all over the nation after that (long story), I ate less and less Indian food with every move and every passing year. I did however try every Indian restaurant which compelled me more to try cooking Indian food at home, minus the ghee, dairy and all other non-vegan stuff. Welcome to my journey I hope you enjoy these vegan chana masala–instant pot version.

INGREDIENTS for Oil-Free Vegan Chana Masala

Chickpea Curry-2

2 tbsp. vegetable broth

1 white or yellow onion (diced)

1-2 tbsp. garlic ginger paste (to your taste preference)

2 tbsp. curry powder

a handful of spinach

1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 can of lite coconut milk

1 can of garbanzo beans

Chickpea Curry-1

DIRECTIONS to make Delicious Vegan Chickpea Curry

  1. Set your instant pot to saute mode, and add the vegetable broth.
  2. Once the broth starts to sizzle a little, add your diced onions and sautee until they turn semi-clear.
  3. Add the garlic ginger paste and let it cook for up to 2 minutes, or until aromatic.
  4. Add the curry powder and toast it for about a minute.
  5. Add your can of drained garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, and cocnut milk.
  6. If you prefer it spicy (add in a bit of red chilli pepper flakes–you can just as well add it directly to your dish at the end).
  7. Close the instant pot lid and cook it on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  8. Once time is up, release the pressure, open the lid and stir in the spinach.

If it’s more watery, you can easily enjoy it as a soup, but I personally think it’s best served with some rice or cauliflower rice.

Chickpea Curry-3

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite Indian dish?

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Vegan Cruelty Free, Vegan Food

Vegan Taco Ring – Easy Vegan Dinner Recipe

 

Photo Sep 09, 4 38 32 PM

I became vegan a few months after my husband and I moved to Illinois. January 1, 2016 marks my vegan birthday (cue balloons). As many vegans will tell you, the hardest part was finding fun recipes and thankfully, Instagram came to the rescue. I found a recipe similar to this ageees ago, but what I learned is that so many of these recipes can easily be tailored to your own. I especially love this one because it’s literally a garbage pile, in that you can throw all your leftovers into the mix, wrap it up, bake it and voila: taco ring.

A couple weekends ago, it was raining like crazy, and I wanted to bake and cook and just be around a warm oven. So I made the taco ring. What’s best about this is, you can easily make it for a potluck or a bring it to a party as your go-to meal because it’s literally SO easy to make and can be made really quickly too depending on the ingredients you use. The one I’m showing you guys below is a little more involved because it includes potatoes. Take out the potatoes and that literally cuts down about 20 mins of time. So, let’s get started!

Taco Ring Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 roll of crescent rolls (Pillsbury is accidentally vegan, but Annie’s makes vegan options)
  • 1 packed of Soyrizo (soy chorizo)–I get mine at Trader Joe’s (it’s the cheapest there too)
  • 1/2 packet of taco seasoning (also from Trader Joe’s)

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pouch of potatoes
  • Veggies of your choice

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut up all of your veggies and start sauteeing them.
3. Open your crescent rolls and lay them out to create a sun shape. The point side should be the outside of “the sun” and the wide side will overlap from piece to piece like below:

TR-3

4. Cook the soyrizo in a separate pan for about 5 minutes. Then toss the mixture with 1/2 packet of the taco seasoning.
5. Mix the soyrizo with the veggies and whatever else you want to fold into the mix.
6. Scoop the soyrizo mix onto the ring like below:

Photo Sep 09, 4 00 55 PM

7. It will get messy, but that’s ok. After you’ve scooped as much as that will fit, fold the point side into the wide side, like below:

Photo Sep 09, 4 01 55 PM

8. Optional: Add vegan cheese to each ring on the top:

Photo Sep 09, 4 03 56 PM

9. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, then let it cool.

If You’re Using Potatoes

  1. Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces.
  2. Throw them in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain and let them cool for 5 minutes, before tossing them into your taco ring mix.

Photo Sep 09, 4 38 32 PM

Question of the Day

Have you tried this kind of recipe before? What’s your go-to potluck meal?

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